Career Online High School (COHS), a program that gives area adults a chance to earn a high school diploma online, is sponsored by the Kansas City Public Library, Mid-Continent Public Library, Literacy Kansas City, in partnership with Gale Cengage. It is offered to adults ages 19 and older in the Kansas City metro area, providing them with an opportunity to earn a fully accredited high school diploma and career certificate at no charge.
ABOUT CAREER ONLINE HIGH SCHOOL
The graduation ceremony included remarks from leaders at the libraries and Literacy KC, as well as a keynote address by April Boyd-Noronha, local author, professor, and Chief Engagement Strategist at The STEM Broker, LLC, which gives talks on education policies and practices. Noronha also serves on the board of numerous technology and community organizations in the metro and was named the Minority Educator of the Year by the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals in 2018.
“I applaud the efforts of the COHS program because it provides a crucial foundational component for non-traditional students to learn as they earn,” said Noronha.
The 2019 Career Online High School graduates.
Out of the 19 students from the 2019 COHS graduating class, five have plans to pursue, or are already enrolled in, higher education. Numerous others completed the program for career advancement, and some simply wanted to prove to themselves and their families that they could accomplish their goals.
“I got pregnant at a young age, and also I grew up in the foster care system, so I didn’t get the opportunity to finish my high school diploma,” said one COHS graduate. “And now that I have a teenage girl, it’s important for me to not only tell her to finish school, but to finish school myself. So this was not just for me, this was for my children―to show them it doesn’t matter how old you are; it is important to have a high school diploma.”
“This has been the best program and the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to achieve,” said another COHS graduate. “But I wouldn’t change it for anything.” COHS is offered entirely online and can be conveniently accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To date, 132 individuals have received scholarships from the two library systems and Literacy KC, and 31 have graduated from the COHS program.
"I was able to continue working in my career job and it allowed me to start taking college courses!"
"I can now get a better job and just the feeling of achieving something was a satisfaction for me."
"It allowed me to achieve my high school diploma and not a GED. I have now enrolled into Metropolitan Community College and on track for an AA [Associate in Art]. I will then transfer to UMKC for a BA [Bachelor of Arts] in Health and Science. It just opened so many doors for me that I thought I would never open and has changed the course path of my life."
Learn more about Career Online High School at kclibrary.org/high-school.
Photos and portions of this post contributed by Mid-Continent Public Library